Payment Plan Contracts

Here is a PDF of the payment plan contracts requested from the Bourbon County Treasurer under the Kansas Open Records Act.. This information is part of public records and no one is allowed to use it to try to sell things to people whose information is contained in this document.

“No person shall knowingly sell, give or receive, for the purpose of selling or  offering for sale any property or service to persons listed therein, any list of names  and addresses contained in or derived from public records…” K.S.A. 45-230(a).

The link is below:

PDF of Payment Plan Contracts

It is about 10 megs and over 100 pages, so it may take a little while to download. It is possible that a few pages didn’t scan correctly. I was billed for 143 pages, but the final count in the scanned document was 140, so there may have been a few errors in the scanning process. I haven’t gone back and counted each page.

Update 9/26: I have gone back through and located the pages that double scanned and added them to the document. There are now a total of 148 contracts. Let me stress that the scanning error occured on my side of things–not the county. I apologize for any confusion that was caused by this. If you downloaded the PDF, your version is out of date if it has fewer than 148 pages.

Keep in mind that anyone could make partial payments on the amount they owed with or without any type of plan. The payment plan tried to help keep money coming in for the county by getting people to make smaller regular payments. It mistakenly allowed people to keep their name out of the paper as well. However, the payment plan shouldn’t have changed the amount anyone paid–it just gave them a way to keep track of it and try to help guide people toward getting the delinquent amounts paid off.

There are a lot of documents here, but some thoughts from initially scanning through them:

  • Why are most of them unsigned? – Update 9/26: The treasurer said that many people didn’t send them back signed.
  • Why are some of the payment terms for longer than one year?  I thought the payment plan let people pay things off in a single year because anything longer would just put people more and more behind.
  • The monthly payments seem very “round”. Were they just based on what people said they could pay?
  • In at least one case, the payment plan was used to pre-pay on the following years taxes.

20 thoughts on “Payment Plan Contracts”

  1. Thank you, Mark! OK, let’s see why are most of them unsigned? My thought would be because they were just written up lately and Susan was unable to contact them to get them signed. Susan could have protected herself from it looking this way by being put on administrative leave when the accusations came up. I think a lot of people don’t understand that administrative leave doesn’t say you are guilty, it can protect you. I don’t have a clue how she came up with a payment amount, I am guessing it was whatever they said on those signed contracts but the unsigned? Just put in a number? Now, you can pre-pay on your account and I know that in one of the other counties, someone was pre-paying monthly to make it like when they paid the house payments so they could keep up. I went through just the first few because they are screaming so loudly of incompetence that I saw no reason to go further: Babcock, term 8/15/11 to 01/15/12 for the 2007 taxes and the problem being that you have 3 years to redeem before your property goes to auction so the taxes for 2007 had to be paid by 09/01/11 or in FULL taxes, interest and fees for all years to keep it off the auction block – so not within the statute. Same situation for Baglin. Belt, term 01/15/11 to 07/15/15 on 2006 taxes but 2006 tax redemption period ended 09/01/10 and property should have been one that was auctioned last year, of course, there were not enough properties or so the commissioners were told. Button, term 01/15/11 to 03/15/14 for 2010 taxes again, this exceeds the 3 year redemption period. Clark, 06/15/11 to 11/30/12, the term exceeds the redemption period because this is for the year, 2007 for which the redemption period passed and full taxes, interest and fees to make the account current are due before auction and Cochrane – same deal. Noticed Farmington had a term of 10/15/10 to 02/25/15 to pay 2007 and 2008 – same deal, past the redemption period. I want to apologize to these people as I just took the top of the stack here to look at and in no way am I implying that any of these people were doing anything wrong as it was not THEIR JOB to know the laws and I am sure that many or most are as horrified by this situation as the rest of us. Again, Mark, thank you.

    1. The most likely explanation for them being unsigned is that they were just verbal agreements. Keep in mind that anyone is allowed to make partial payments so a payment plan wasn’t supposed to let people do anything that they couldn’t have done on their own.

      If property was kept off the tax sale when it should have been sold then that is a problem However, there are are some legitimate situations that will keep property off the tax sale, so to determine if something wasn’t sold when it should have been would require looking at everything on a case by case basis. It is entirely possible that a piece of property was submitted for the sale, but then pulled out because of bankruptcy, probate, or several other reasons.

  2. In quickly reviewing others, I noted that contracts were made even after the redemption period had totally passed. Someone had a term of 4/15/10 to 2/15/13 for 2005 taxes. On years that were combined, that just really would not work because say, 2006 delinquent tax properties should have been on the auction block last year but if combined with 2007 on one contract, it would be difficult to decide what the heck was going on. This program did not seem to be designed to collect the tax money and the ones most likely paying and catching up were those that were paying on the current year taxes, in this case, 2010. With the others, it was becoming like a snowball rolling downhill. I cannot imagine the time/expense it would take to even attempt to manage such a haphazard plan thus, the situation that it is in.

  3. In quickly reviewing others, I noted that contracts were made even after the redemption period had totally passed.

    It does appear that way, but as I mentioned above there are some legitimate reasons why property may be kept off a sale. If someone has property that is past the redemption period and they come in and offer to start paying money on what they owe, it is in the best interest of the county to accept that money–even if it doesn’t prevent the property from eventually being sold.

    In looking at the previous minutes, it appears that the payment plan may have been used to keep people off the tax sale. The record isn’t entirely clear (see the minutes from October 6th 2003), but if it did happen, it looks like it was the commissioners who made the decision.

    While the plan may appear haphazard, keep in mind that it wasn’t designed to allow anyone to do anything that they couldn’t have done without a plan. The areas that are problematic are when/if it DID let people do things (like keep their name out of the paper) that they couldn’t have done without being on a plan.

    1. Mark: I know that I came across a statute that addressed who and for what reasons a property could be pulled off of the auction listing and I will look for that, hopefully find it and post it later.

    2. Are you saying that if something is in the best interest of the county that it OK not to follow the state statutes? Also, with so many people being behind and not making payments it shows why the letter of the law needs to be followed. This fiasco proves that we have laws for a purpose.

      1. I’m not sure exactly what you are referencing. I was saying that there are legal provisions AND financial reasons for having a payment plan. So yes the law needs to be followed, but that doesn’t mean a payment plan shouldn’t exist.

        Regarding the commissioners deciding to keep properties off the sale, I was merely pointing out that if that is indeed what happened it wasn’t the treasurer’s office that made the call. I wasn’t trying to say that it was the correct thing to do.

        1. Mark: The County Treasurer doesn’t work for the County Commission, she works for ALL the taxpayers in Bourbon County. The bigger issue here is not keeping the names out of the paper but keeping them from EVER being sold at auction no matter how many years behind they became in delinquent taxes. Also, we have yet to see proof that there were not enough properties to justify a sale last year just the “word” of 2 people that are delinquent on their taxes. I am sure the County Commission has learned a lesson from this and will, in the future, ask for documentation and they SHOULD have been able to TRUST the word of the County Treasurer so I don’t blame them in this area. Who would have thought? I was referring to this “If someone has property that is past the redemption period and they come in and offer to start paying money on what they owe, it is in the best interest of the county to accept that money–even if it doesn’t prevent the property from eventually being sold.” Well, see the problem is, 40 people were exempt from ever having to worry about their properties being sold anyway and those making partial payments after the redemption period owed the full amount many were not paying, probably all, so the law was being broken.

  4. I noticed there was people who did not have their name printed in the first publication, that do not have a contract in this group of the payment plan. I can see three that were not listed in the first publication and are not in this contract group that you just printed. How does that work? Susan said the reason they were not printed was because they were on the payment plan.

    1. Cecelia – I was charged for 143 pages, but when I scanned it I ended up with 140. So evidently there were three sheets of paper that double fed. I counted them this morning and came up with 143 pieces of paper so there are probably three missing, but I’m not sure which ones they are and haven’t had time to go back through them one by one to compare.

        1. I will attempt to find the missing pages. I think they just stuck together. I just haven’t had a chance to go through all 140 pages and compare them to see what might be missing.

  5. I thought that the county commissioners only made this decision after being told by Justin Meeks and Susan Quick that there wasn’t enough partials to be sold on 2006 taxes. Susan Quick stood right in the commissioner room and told them that was her office. Now who is the boss and is going to take responsibility for this ? The minutes should have read who did what. I would think the lawyer that told the commissioners this got his information from the treasurer’s office.

    1. Cecelia – I’m not sure what you are referencing. If you click on the “reply” link under a comment, it will list your reply right under the comment to which you are replying.

      I think you are talking about my comment saying that commissioners on the past may have kept a years worth of properties from going to auction. I was referring to minutes from 2003. There was a tax sale, but it appears that they may have only sold property that was 4 years delinquent instead of all the properties that were 3 years or more delinquent.

      I think you are referring to the fact that there was not a tax sale last year which was mentioned in this post.

  6. Mark: I am just putting this here since it applies across the board regarding the payment plan. I remember at the commission meeting and also here, you stated in question form at the meeting that the payment plan didn’t allow you to do anything that you could not do otherwise but, it actually did. Whether or not everyone on the plan knew it or not, the County Treasurer was aware that this met the names would not be in the newspaper and that would keep their names from being bid-off to the County which is the first step in the foreclosure process. And, yes, I know it takes 3 years but people like the County Treasurer would have passed the redemption period and had 3 years of taxes bid off to the County Commission. So, did it allow taxpayers on the payment plan to do something that otherwise they could not. Yes, avoid having their properties with 3 plus years of delinquent taxes sold at the tax sale. Is that a big deal? You bet! Biggest deal of this whole deal!

    1. A payment plan that helps people schedule partial payments doesn’t let people do anything they couldn’t do for themselves. Not printing names in the paper is a different issue from the payment plan. In my opinion we should do away with the practice of not printing some names in the paper, but the payment plan itself isn’t a problem.

      You do raise an interesting point about whether or not the lack of a bid off would prevent property from being foreclosed on and sold.

      1. Mark: In this case, the payment plan was used, in my opinion, as an excuse not to put some of the names in the paper which also prevented them being bid off to the County Commissioners. Of the 143, only 40 names (67 properties) were left out of the paper. 17 of the 40 names were supposedly on the payment plan for the year 2010 with the remaining paying on other years leaving 23 on the revolving plan – year after year.

        The Statute states, I believe, that the names/properties have to be published 3 times and then they pass to the County Commission where they are held the 3 years. So, not publishing them year after year………….

        The payment plan at best was poorly managed. It was not a way to get some of those people caught up on their taxes when they were allowed to be paying for 1 year over a period of 3 or 4 years. I actually feel sorry for someone trusting that this would be the answer to their problem – the payment plan. Some contracts were signed, some not, some signed without a date, total of payments would not match the total due the best I could tell, people were not making any payments but still considered on the payment plan, a general criteria of “financial hardship” just did not cut it in my opinion especially if the people were not even coming in and signing the contracts. I wonder how many people did not even realize that they had a contract.

        IF the payment was managed properly and within the statutes by someone with the time and competence to do it, then I could see its usefulness in helping people to decide what direction they needed to take to get it caught up because, a lot of people just aren’t capable of figuring out what they need to do. Figures would need to be upfront and I still don’t know how this didn’t stick out in some sort of accounts receivable when the money was expected but not coming in. I would think a payment plan of this sort should have been ran past the County Commissioners and the County Attorney to “troubleshoot” the process and make decisions to make sure the payment plan was within the laws if one’s goal was to be within the law.

        T

        1. In this case, the payment plan was used, in my opinion, as an excuse not to put some of the names in the paper which also prevented them being bid off to the County Commissioners.

          According to the law, any irregularity of problems with publishing the names in the paper, doesn’t prevent the properties from being bid off and sold to the county.

          1. Mark: “Intent” and documentation have been a major problem. I can only think of “if it walks like duck…………Thanks!

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